BY ANNABEL MONAGHAN
At university, students go through one of the most transformative stages in their life. From the moment they walk through the gates of their university (their new home in a sense), to the second they graduate and begin their journey as a career-driven individual in the real world, it is a beautifully chaotic experience. Some students are naturally able to handle the experience better than others, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. Comparison to other students is not only unhealthy, but it is potentially incredibly damaging to one’s psyche and whole health. The key to getting through university, especially when one feels they are struggling, is forging strong relationships with other students and friends. Because of the sheer scale of most universities, having strong, dependable relationships can and mostly does prove to be the ultimate social support circle. Students these days put more pressure on themselves than ever before. It is upsetting, to say the least, but it is also easy to understand how and why this occurs so often. Of all the pieces of advice that university students get, the best one is to find their comfortable balance, and to ensure that they consistently work to maintain it. But how?
Students today take on more of a workload while trying to balance more work at their jobs, more time with their families, partners, and friends, and more time for themselves. Finding the peak balance is more difficult than ever. It is also more important than ever that university students can find the balance. Going into university as a student can be a tremendously difficult transition for some individuals. It is important to go into the experience with an accepting, an open mindset, first and foremost. University is a time for trying new things, and it is advised that one should always make the most of the experience and to do exactly that. From finding new hobbies, like a garden or a book club, to finding one’s personal research and study strategies, students can find out an absolute wealth of knowledge about themselves when they are at university. Self-discovery is incredible, and letting university help one with that is the best move.
Of course, the nature of university is that it challenges you, but at no point in life – especially when going through such a challenging experience – should one’s mental health be put on the back burner in favor of advancement in other aspects of life. Therefore, forging and maintaining strong relationships with other students can be the saving grace for many. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the university experience, and having a social circle that doubles as a support system is incredibly important. Even when an introvert at heart, making a friend or two can truly make all the difference in the world. When studying for finals becomes too much, taking a break and doing something fun with a friend is a great way to hit the reset button and allow for a stronger grasp on the environment and current circumstances around a person.
Aside from having some positive hobbies and supportive relationships while at university, maintaining a strong sense of one’s own emotions and current mental state is incredibly important. University helps to shape students into who they are going to be once they graduate, but a lot of that evolution of the individual is up to the person themselves, too. Students these days are so focused on maintaining the best grade scores they can, that they often push their own needs to the back of their minds. Sometimes, they are not even aware of just how important their personal needs are. This is dangerous territory to be in, and the reason that making consistent mental check ins on oneself is so crucial. Even if it means discussing one’s current headspace with a course coordinator or faculty head, and possibly taking some time out, it is important to ensure our mental health is being taken care of.
When individuals walk onto campus or sign into their student log in for the first time, they start a three to four year experience that is challenging, demanding, and rewarding all at once. It is easy for students to become overwhelmed with the university experience, especially when they are relatively new to it. The key to maintaining strong relationships and integral understanding in university is to surround oneself with positive, engaging relationships while making time for things that are not related to the university experience. Because of the busy lives that modern students leave, they put more pressure on themselves than they ever have before, and this pressure can result in unhealthy responses. The best advice any university student can get is to ensure they find their comfortable balance, and to make sure that they maintain that balance – no matter what.
Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at email@example.com.